the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Draft Preview: Justin Manton

Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Louisiana-Monroe's Justin Manton. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings, and is number one on several lists.

Excerpts from Manton's profile page on the Warhawks' website:

2014 Senior Season
  • School's all-time leading scorer with 256 points. He made 36 of 56 field goals with a career long of 51 yards. He averaged 43.1 yards per kick on 204 career punts
  • Was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award
  • Two time Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week (Sept. 29; Nov. 24 [Co-POW])
  • was the only Sun Belt kicker to hit a 50+ yard field goal this season (51 vs. Texas State; 51 at Texas A&M) 
  • tallied 10 total points including the game-winning field goal with 2:08 to play as ULM defeated Troy, 22-20… Manton was 3-for-3 on field goals against the Trojans (37, 34, 29)
2013 Junior Season
  • Earned First Team All-Louisiana and First-Team All-Sun Belt honors as a punter
  • Finished the season at the top of the conference and fourth nationally with a 45.8 yard per punt average... Had at least one 50 yard punt in every game except Wake Forest (long of 48)
  • Punted a total of 80 times on the season for 3,664 yards with 28 punts going 50 yards or more and four of 60 yards or more... Also had 24 punts land inside the opponent’s 20 yard line
  • Kicked off 53 times during the season and averaged 61.4 yards per kick with 30 touchbacks and zero landing out-of-bounds
  • Had two punts for 92 yards (46.0 avg) and nine kickoffs for 545 yards (60.6 avg) in home opener against Grambling State... Made a pair of field goals (31, 38) and was a perfect 6-for-6 in PATs against the Tigers
  • Earned Louisiana Special Teams Player of the Week and CFPA Honorable Mention Punter of the Week honors after registering season-highs in both punting yards (479) and average (53.2) at Baylor... Recorded a career-long 77-yard punt as well as a 69-yard punt against the Bears... The 77-yard boot is tied for second in school-history and the 69-yard kick is tied for eighth
  • Had one of the biggest plays of the game against the Ragin’ Cajuns -- on 4th-and-4 at the ULM 26, Manton faked a punt and rushed 14 yards to keep the Warhawk drive alive... The drive resulted in a Warhawk touchdown as the Warhawks went from down one to ahead by seven thanks to a score and a two-point conversion... The 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the three point win over UL-Lafayette... Earned Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week honors after strong performance against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
2012 Sophomore Season
  • Kicked off 71 times for 4,261 yards (60.0 avg.)... 
  • Also served as the team’s primary punter, logging 48 punts for 1912 yards (39.8 avg.) including a career-long 66 yard boot
  • Was named Louisiana Special Teams Player of the Week on three occasions (Sept. 17; Oct. 15; Nov. 26)
  • Set a new career-high with nine made PATs at Tulane... His nine makes and nine attempts were both conference highs
  • Made four PATs and hit a 32-yard FG in win at Middle Tennessee... Also connected with TE Keavon Milton as 11-yard pass on fake punt extended a Warhawk drive
  • Was named CFPA Honorable Mention Punter of the Week after averaging 46.2 yards per punt (five punts, 231 yards) against UL-Lafayette... Four of five punts against Ragin’ Cajuns were inside the 20 and two traveled 50+ yards.
2011 Freshman Season
  • Averaged 54.8 yards per kickoff (53 kickoffs, 2906 yards)
  • Connected on his first career field goal at TCU
  • Hit a season-long 43-yard field goal at Iowa
High School
  • Earned all-state honors as a junior after connecting on 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including a school record 54-yard kick; was 46-of-47 on PATs and had 44 touchbacks on kickoffs
  • A three-time all-district selection and a two-time all-metro choice
  • Was 4-of-8 on field goals as a senior

College Stats:
2014: 20 of 24 (83.3%) FGs; 23 of 23 PATs; 83 points
2013: 5 of 9 (55.6%) FGs; 34 of 35 PATs; 49 points
2012: 5 of 9 (55.6%) FGs; 57 of 58 PATs; 72 points
2011: 6 of 14 (42.9%) FGs; 34 of 36 PATs; 52 points

Back in February, Manton discussed his experiences at the NFL Scouting Combine and his versatility:
"The Senior Bowl was a good week for me, getting thrown into a lot of this  stuff like the media and everything. I've got to say I wasn't expecting this. It's a little more than I thought. It's been great. I'm just trying to enjoy it.

I think that could help me, I really like the punter KO specialist side of things. That's what I'm feeling most comfortable with right now. Throughout college that's (touchchbacks) what I did, drove it out to try and get a bunch of touchbacks. I think I can do that."

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